American News

American News

Joe Johnson

Tyndale Lessons and Carols
For the first time, on both sides of the Atlantic, we had Tyndale Lessons and Carols within the same week, 17 December in London and 14 December in Florala, Alabama. The First Presbyterian Church of Florala, Alabama was approached with the idea for their Christmas programme and they eagerly embraced it. The programme began at 5pm, lasted an hour, and was followed by fellowship and food. The lessons were read from Tyndale’s translations of the Old and New Testaments using Prof. Daniell’s books. The lessons began with Genesis 3 and ended with John 14. What a joyous time!

The Bible In English
We delight in the joy of Professor David Daniell’s book release of The Bible In English, and his trip to New York in September for the book launch. Professor Daniell has done much to drive an enormous stake through the heart of the academic vampire that seeks to ignore the history and influence of that which is so influential to all things English; the English Bible. The academic world can no longer ignore the English Bible, practising what is known as ‘ostrichism’; that is having one’s head buried in the sand while the rest of the anatomy is exposed to the scrutiny of the rest of the world, especially as viewed through the eyes of the well-documented and researched The Bible In English.

Professor Daniell’s brilliantly written tome is an instant classic. I shall never tire of reading it. His insightful understanding of theology and history are superb! His tremendous skill as a writer makes it seem as if I were sitting in private conversation with him.

I appreciate so very much the years of sacrifice, research, work, agonizing decisions, hours of lost fellowship with family and friends that Professor Daniell made in order for others to feast upon the words and pages of The Bible In English. I, for one, am indebted forever!

President George W. Bush and Tyndale
In The Bible In English Professor Daniell wrote of those who came to America seeking a new life and of the role the Bible played in their lives, and in the making of this nation, the United States of America. I delighted in hearing President George W. Bush in his State Visit to Great Britain underscore this point. During his speech on 17 November 2003 at London’s Banqueting House President Bush made references to Tyndale and the role of the ‘Good News’.

Following the speech, Presidential historian Douglas Brinkley PhD, Tulane University, said that history would record it as one of President Bush’s best, with the most remembered line likely being, ‘Yet, there remains a bit of England in every American.’

I agree with Professor Brinkley, and must bring light to the full context of what President Bush said just prior to that sentence. The significance must not be overlooked and needs to be mentioned. What follows is the relevant part of the text of President Bush’s speech delivered at the Banqueting House in Whitehall on 17 November, 2003 during his State Visit:

‘Americans have on occasion been called moralists, who often speak in terms of right and wrong. That zeal has been inspired by examples on this island, by the tireless compassion of Lord Shaftesbury, the righteous courage of Wilberforce, and the firm determination of the Royal Navy over the decades to fight and end the trade in slaves.

It’s rightly said that Americans are a religious people. That’s, in part, because the “Good News” was translated by Tyndale, preached by Wesley, lived out in the example of William Booth. At times Americans are even said to have a puritan streak-and where might that have come from? Well, we can start with the Puritans. To this fine heritage, Americans have added a few traits of our own: the good influence of our immigrants, and the spirit of the frontier. Yet, there remains a bit of England in every American. So much of our national character comes from you, and we’re glad for it.

The fellowship of generations is the cause of common beliefs. We believe in open societies ordered by moral conviction. We believe in private markets humanized by compassionate government. We believe in economies that reward effort, communities that protect the weak, and the duty of nations to respect the dignity and the rights of all. And whether one learns these ideals in County Durham or in West Texas, they instill mutual respect and they inspire common purpose.

More than an alliance of security and commerce, the British and American peoples have an alliance of values. And today this old and tested alliance is very strong…’

It was nice to hear the President acknowledge Tyndale’s contribution and influence upon our lives and the shaping of our nations.

North American Tyndale Conference 23 to 26 September 2004
Finally, the details concerning the North American Tyndale Conference chaired by Dr. Barry Ryan to be held at Regent University, Virginia Beach, VA, USA from 23 September until 26 September 2004 will be mailed to members soon! Keep an eye on the web site

News from America

A Report from Mary Clow

‘The Bible in English’ in New York City.
St Bartholomew’s Episcopalian (Anglican) Church on Park Avenue is an exceptional centre of worship in the heart of this great city. Opened in 1918 and designed in Byzantine style with a huge dome over a cross, it is now dwarfed by surrounding skyscraper offices which reflect each other in walls of glass. Built to serve the rich who once lived in mansions nearby, today St Bart’s gives free breakfasts to the urban poor. In the electricity blackout last August, the church kept its doors open and 100 stranded strangers slept in the pews overnight.

On 11 September 2003, in memory of the atrocity of two years previously, there was an interfaith noontime service conducted by a rabbi, an imam, and a clergyman of St Bart’s. Solemnly, without choir or ritual, each said prayers for the victims of their own and each other’s communities. Names were read out of those whose funerals had been held in the church. In the congregation many were weeping openly as the imam recited the beautiful words that begin the Qur’an ‘In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate…’

It was in this setting some days later that Prof. David Daniell presented his book ‘The Bible in English’ to a questioning, vitally engaged lunchtime group of about 30 people. He spoke for half an hour, giving the book’s background and outlining the rich history of the multitude of English-language bibles, especially in America. The moment he finished, questions came thick and fast, with a good deal of contention and dispute, handled by David with aplomb. ‘The Message’ (an American bible he had singled out for scorn) turned out to be the favourite of one of the group - which brought gleeful laughter. A provocative older man congratulated him on having upheld the superiority of the ‘St James Bible’ - a slip seized on with relish by David and, of course, exactly the opposite of his book’s theme. Interest was lively and the discussion could have gone on all day.

This set the tone of the USA publication-launch of ‘The Bible in English’. David held his own with Leonard Lopate live on radio for an hour, fielding call-ins. Afterwards a professor from Rutgers University e-mailed: ‘Daniell was informative, gentle, polite and civil. It was altogether a splendid performance’ - and he had already ordered the book.

The launch garnered about 40 people from a wide range of interests. Yale University Press co-hosted the party, their editors showing up from London as well as from New Haven. There were writers from The New York Times, and from The New York Observer (local equivalent of The Spectator). There were representatives of St Bart’s, of the American Bible Society (where David did some important US research), and of the New York Jewish community. David welcomed everyone and spoke briefly about his book - which led to many questions and debate on issues he had raised.

President Bush in London
On 17 November 2003 the President gave the major speech of his visit to England to an invited audience in the sumptuous surrounding of the Banqueting House in Whitehall. It was from a window of this hall that Charles I stepped out on to the scaffold to lose his head, but the President did not seemed perturbed by this unhappy precedent.

‘Americans traveling to England always observe more similarities to our country than differences’ he said, and continued ‘… Americans are a religious people. That’s in part because the “Good News” was translated by Tyndale’.

President Bush named four more Englishmen who had inspired American zeal in morality and religion. Can readers name them? Answer bottom of page 57.

Tyndale in a Headline
During the power blackout of a huge swathe of the United States last year, the principal tabloid ‘The New York Daily Post’ ran the headline:

Let there be Lights - Oh Let There Be Lights!

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